Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: July 8, 1776

July 8, 1776

Congress returns to the day to day conduct of the war with a focus on Canada and New York.  Individual delegates still write about the importance of the passage of the Declaration of Independence. 

Link to date-related documents.

Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789

Sundry letters were received and read.

Resolved, That the Secret Committee be directed to send powder and cartridge paper, to General Mercer for the flying camp.

Resolved, That an order for 20,000 dollars be drawn on the treasurers, in favor of James Mease.

A letter of this day from Mrs. Connolly was read and referred to the committee of safety of Pennsylvania.

Resolved, That the war office needs the attendance of Captain Peters in the city.

Resolved, That the post masters, while in office, be excused from all military duty.

A letter from the convention of Maryland of the 4th, enclosing resolutions for raising three thousand four hundred men for the flying camp, was read.

Resolved, That Major General Gates be informed, that it was the intention of Congress to give him the command of the troops whilst in Canada, but had no design to vest him with a superior command to General Schuyler, whilst the troops should be on this side Canada; and that the president write to Major General Schuyler and Major General Gates, stating this matter, and recommending to them to carry on the military operations with harmony, and in such manner as shall best promote the public service:

Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing resolution be sent to General Washington.

Resolved, That the three people recommended by the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania to be “captains to the four companies of Germans” be approved.

The Board of War brought in a report, which was taken into consideration.

Resolved, That General Washington be vested with discretionary power to use in New York, continental regiments now in Massachusetts, and to recruit Indians of the St. Johns, Nova Scotia and Penobscot tribes.

The Congress then choose Clement Biddle to be the deputy quarter master general for the flying camp.  A deputy muster master will be elected tomorrow.

Resolved, That the committee for providing medicines, be directed to supply the militias aforesaid, with a sufficient quantity of suitable medicines.

Resolved, That an order for 60,000 dollars be drawn on the treasurers, in favor of the delegates of Georgia, for the use of the continental battalions.

Resolved, That General Washington be empowered to appoint suitable places of rendezvous for the new battalions bound for Canada, and communicate this to the assemblies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York; also, to issue orders to supply the troops with rations, tents, a month’s advance pay, etc.

Resolved, That Mr. Mease be directed to advance one month’s pay to members of militia of Pennsylvania marching to Trenton who will serve in the flying camp.

Resolved, That an order for 5,000 dollars be drawn on the treasurers, in favor of Mr. George Evans, contractor for supplying the Delaware battalion.

A letter of July 5th, from the committee of safety of Sussex in Delaware, with sundry papers enclosed, was read and referred to the delegates of Maryland and Delaware.

Adjourned to 9’Clock tomorrow.

John Adams to James Warren

Congress has been pleased to establish a War office, and have done me the Honor to make me a Member of that Board, which lays me under obligation to write you upon the Subject of Flints….

William Whipple to John Langdon

Yours of the 24th ulto I’ve received. It grieves me that the frigates cannot be got to Sea, which I am sensible they might before this, had proper attention been paid to cannon in season. I have been a long time endeavoring to draw the attention of the Committee to the regulation of the Navy but hitherto without success. The present establishment certainly needs amendment, but business is so exceedingly pressing that it’s impossible to form a judgment when it will be done…. I must refer you to the papers for news as time just now is very precious.

The Declaration will no doubt give you pleasure. It will be published next Thursday at the head of the Army at New York. I am told it is to be published this day, in form in this city….

[P.S.] I hope you’ll take care that the Declaration is properly treated. Colonel Bartlett desires his compliments and that you’ll excuse his writing as he is much engaged.

Benjamin Franklin and Robert Morris to Silas Deane

With this you will receive the Declaration of the Congress for a final separation from Great Britain. It was the universal demand of the people, justly exasperated by the obstinate perseverance of the Crown in its tyrannical and destructive measures, and the Congress were very unanimous in complying with that demand. You will immediately communicate the piece to the Court of France, and send copies of it to the other Courts of Europe. It may be well also to procure a good translation of it into French, and get it published in the gazettes….

You will see in the newspapers that we have been obliged to quit Canada for the present. It was too bold a thing to block up Quebec a whole winter with an army much inferior in numbers to the garrison, and our troops sent too late to support them, not having had the small pox, have been much disabled by that distemper. But neither this disaster, nor the landing of an army in our neighborhood, have in the least dispirited the Congress, as you may perceive by our declaration being subsequent to both.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.